The phenomenon of the FEAST […] provides exceptionally precious material for researching social and cultural changes, including the influence of urbanization on rural feasts. Therefore, it can be perceived as a mirror that reflects those changes. French historian Jacques Heers calls it “a mirror of civilization,” because it is always placed in the social context in which it “springs up and determines its vital shapes and colors” […]. The feast allows us to look, at the same time, at traditional and new elements of a particular culture that coexist next to each other or with each other. The changes in the feasts are “sensitive indexes” of the changes of values, ideas and ideologies, social and political structures, their functioning, and cultural creativity. […]
The proposed volume meets the growing interest in intercultural comparison of social changes, especially in festivities. It enriches the empirical basis of accounts on festivities in general because it contains detailed case studies—mostly based on the authors’ own field research—from European, Asian, and African countries. […]
Bożena Gierek, from the “Introduction”
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